"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elizabeth Bishop House Yard Restoration Progressing Well

I was recently in Great Village to check on the yard restoration at the Elizabeth Bishop House. I am pleased to say that things are progressing well. The porch foundation is reconstructed thanks to Deverne Rushton. We are still awaiting a new front step, but it will be done in the very near future. It was decided to hold off seeding the front lawn because the work on the new bridge in Great Village will have an affect on the roadway right in front of the house. Once that work is done, the front yard, small as it is, can be fully restored.
All the heavy lifting and earth moving are done thanks to Cory Spencer. With the mild fall we have so far enjoyed, many warm summer-like days, the grass is already growing back in the areas that received the tons of gravel. You can see the blush of green emerging in the earth. This part of the lawn needs no re-seeding. Much of the grass may actually return before the snow flies. If we could harvest grass, we'd have a good income! It was so heartening to see the yard starting to look like itself again.
Part of the purpose of my most recent visit was to tend to some more regular yard work (raking leaves, putting gardens to sleep, and setting out material for the Fall Clean Up in Colchester County). There was still flood debris to pick up, but more manageable amounts than that immediately after the event, which Cory dealt with. A few friends came by to help out. I want to thank Rita Wilson, Rosaria Campbell, Darlene MacIvor and Patti Sharpe for bringing their tools and taking time out of a beautiful Saturday. And an extra thank you to Patti for taking the photos I am posting in this entry.
One thinks of William Carlos Williams.
I want to thank all those who have contributed to the EB House Yard Restoration Appeal so far. I will be putting up a list of contributors in the near future. Your support has been truly helpful and deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Elizabeth Bishop House Yard Restoration Appeal

(Photo by Patti Sharpe)
On the morning of 22 September 2014, a sudden and significant flood occurred in Great Village, N.S. The Elizabeth Bishop House was right in the middle of this unexpected event, which was caused by over 100mm of rain falling in a very short period of time. (There is speculation in the village of other external factors that exacerbated this intense rainfall, but that is a debate for another place and time.) The house was surrounded by rushing water, but thanks to forethought by previous owners, it came through the flood just fine. You can see my accounts of the flood and its affects in the posts below.

The yard of the house did not fare so well. The driveway was washed away and a significant amount of gravel was deposited in the yard. The front porch foundation and steps were affected and must be rebuilt. All in all, considering the intensity of the event, this damage is manageable. Even so, restoring the EB House yard, which was always lovely, and repairing the front porch will require significant effort and expense. We have insurance for the house, but it will not cover the yard restoration work. The porch might be covered, but there is a significant deductible.
(Photo by Patti Sharpe)
In the manner of a crowd-funding campaign, the owners of the EB House are launching an appeal for help with the yard restoration work, which is now underway. Any contribution, however small, will be deeply appreciated and will go directly to this project. Giving $20 will help a lot. If you would like to help out, you can send a cheque payable to the Elizabeth Bishop House to Sandra Barry (P.O. Box 235, Middleton, Nova Scotia, B0S 1P0). Unfortunately, we are not able to provide tax receipts.

We will post reports about the progress of the restoration work on this blog and let our kind supporters know how their contributions have helped. The posts below tell the first parts of this story. Thanks to all those who have already helped, especially the folks in Great Village, and to all who have written to express their concern and support. We are most grateful for the community, the family, that surrounds the Elizabeth Bishop House.
(Photo by Brenda Barry)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Elizabeth Bishop House Yard Restoration Underway

Right off the top, I want to thank Cory Spencer and Deverne Rushton for their hard and good work with the yard restoration work at the Elizabeth Bishop House. This restoration began earlier this week and is still underway, but wonderful progress has been made.
Cory is the young man who has kept the EB House yard looking so good during the summer, for the past four years. After the flood, he came by to assess things and earlier this week, he tackled restoring the driveway and removing the huge quantity of gravel that had been deposited in the back yard. Part of this gravel came from the parking lot of Layton’s Store (between the antique shops). Part of it came from the shoulder of the road and the head of the driveway, which washed out completely. Cory returned some of the gravel to the parking lot and used the rest to rebuild the driveway and fill in around the foundation. Cory also righted quite a few trees and shrubs which had been lifted out of the ground, many tilted at strange, Bishop-esque angles (EB was fond of things that were tilted off the vertical or horizontal axis).
Deverne is our steadfast and trusted carpenter/handyman, who can do just about everything else. He took on the task of repairing the foundation of the front port and will be re-building the front step. 
I went up today with my sister, Brenda Barry (who is also one of the owners of the house), to check on the progress and take some photographs, so I could update all those interested.

As you can see by the photographs included here (taken by Brenda, the yard is starting to look more like itself, more normal. There is still work for Cory and Deverne to do, and later in October, we will be organizing a little work party to do some additional clean up (especially to remove debris that was also deposited in the yard); but it was so heartening to see such good progress and to know that things are being set to rights after such a serious flood.
One quite curious thing: the patch of roses at the very front of the house, right on the road, had been completely covered by raging water and the shoulder of the road washed out around them, but when the water receded, it was apparent that they seemed to come through just fine. The photo of the rose included here was taken today, their glowing pink contrasting with the brownness all around.
We are relieved and grateful that with some hard work the EB House will be returned to its pleasant state. Thank you, Cory and Deverne for all your support. See the previous two blog post to get a better sense of the progress. In the coming days, the owners of the house will be sending out a crowd-funding appeal for help with this restoration work. Stay tuned for further updates.